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Swansea Council joins with horse welfare groups to safeguard horses

Swansea Council has joined forces with a number of animal welfare groups in the city to tackle horse-related issues, including tethering on public land.

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Ongoing problems with horses being kept on public land or tethered to stakes in the ground, is now one of the issues the newly formed Equine Working Group will focus on.

The group includes members of the RSPCA and Friends of Swansea Horses (FOSH). Representatives from Lluest Horse & Pony Trust, the Pettifor Trust and CHAPS Community Horse and Pony Scheme have also joined the group.

The formation of the group follows on from a council scrutiny review which was completed in April 2016 and looked at how horses and horse welfare issues are managed in Swansea.

Equine Working Group - statement of intent:
"The keeping of horses on public spaces in the City & County of Swansea is illegal, frequently detrimental to their welfare, and creates risks and harms to the local community. We are committed to discourage and ultimately stop horses being kept on public land in Swansea, by implementing a programme of activities which will include education, information, persuasion and enforcement'

Animal Welfare Officers in Swansea Council have recently counted 16 horses in Swansea that are being kept on public land without permission.

Mark Child, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Healthy City, said: "Keeping horses on land without the permission of the landowner is illegal and it's something we are keen to tackle.

"Our aim through this group is to work with horse owners and encourage them to be responsible. Looking after a horse, including the welfare of the animal, can be a challenging task to take on and if individuals do not have the means to look after horses properly then we would advise against taking on this responsibility."

Romain de Kerckhove, RSPCA Chief Inspector, said: "The RSPCA has been working closely with Swansea Council for a number of years to help tackle the welfare issues relating to a number of tethered equines across the city. We look forward to working with other organisations to further improve the welfare of Swansea's horses.

"Tethering is not a suitable permanent method of looking after your horse, and the Welsh Government's Code of Practice for Equines states that it should only be used as a temporary measure. We would encourage anyone thinking of owning a horse to seek advice on what is required before taking on such a demanding role."

Friends of Swansea Horses have also got on board with the group and have previously campaigned against the tethering of horses in Swansea.

A spokesperson for the group said "Friends of Swansea Horses (FOSH) is very pleased that the Equine Working Group has been set up. The group will enable collaborative working between welfare organisations and the Council for the benefit of horses across Swansea."

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